This Monday morning in January 2022, everything seems normal in the “golden triangle” district of Paris: the luxurious avenues are empty, the palaces like the George-V are slowly waking up. In a cozy atmosphere, American or Middle Eastern families and a few French businessmen take their breakfast around pastries as shiny as jewels. Nothing suggests intense activity in the basement of the hotel which hosts the finale of “Top Chef” season 13, which will be broadcast on June 15, on M6.
At 1er basement, the decor is a little less polished. The floor is a tangle of black cables, colored adhesive tape and plastic film to protect the soft carpet. A large buffet has been set up for the teams from Studio 89, which produces the show, and it has nothing to do with the delicate croissants seen at the top: ultra-sweet chocolate bars and compotes are lined up between cans of soda and bottles of hydroalcoholic gel.
Behind the buffet, in the “Chantilly” room, the paneling of the George-V was devoured by the screens of the control room, the 18 cameras, the microphones, the batteries, the walkie-talkies, the projectors. Since early morning, the production has been on a war footing, ready to welcome the four conductors (Hélène Darroze, Philippe Etchebest, Paul Pairet and Glenn Viel), as well as their ten candidates. When the latter arrive, they enthusiastically show the “thirteen” tattoo that nine of them made before the final, in homage to this thirteenth season.
At 10 a.m., the “introductory set” can begin. Candidates and chefs gather in a dining room around the host Stéphane Rotenberg, who leads the constitution of the brigades of the two finalists, Louise Bourrat and Arnaud Delvenne. Director Sébastien Zibi, observing the scene from the control room, apostrophes into his microphone: “Hey, oh, clerks, you can be more smiling! » Installed in front of nine screens, he relentlessly stalks his cameramen: “JP, drop Glenn, follow the forming squad instead!” »
The candidates are ordered to tighten up in the field of the camera. This proximity, while the Covid-19 epidemic is in full swing, seems unusual. “I can tell you that we took care of everything! We created a sanitary bubble to shoot”affirms Romuald Graveleau, director of programs for Studio 89. The candidates were confined to a Parisian hotel during the two and a half months of filming, in the fall of 2021, as well as the week preceding the final. “It helped a lot to strengthen the ties”believes Romuald Graveleau – we understand collective tattooing better.
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